Earned Income Tax Credits

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance /  Earned Income Tax Credit Program

The VITA/EITC Program, which runs during tax season, helps families claim the tax credits they are owed by providing cost free tax preparation services. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a special tax benefit for working people who earn low to moderate incomes. Workers who qualify for the EITC and file a federal income tax return can get back some or all of the federal income tax that was taken out of their pay during the year. They may also get extra cash back from the IRS.

Each year more than 15,000 residents of Santa Cruz County receive over $25 million in EITC refunds. Yet, more than 3,000 eligible families and individuals do not take advantage of the EITC, leaving $6 million in EITC refunds on the table. The EITC makes a tremendous impact in the lives of the workers who receive it and who use it to pay off debt, cover basic living expenses, and build savings.



  Call Jena at 831-460-2346 or email her.


Volunteer for VITA/EITC
Volunteers help local working families by offering free tax preparation services. In just one hour, one volunteer can boost a low-income family's earnings by $1,600. We are recruiting new and returning volunteers to support our free tax assistance and financial education program.

During the 2011 tax season, 504 families were assisted.  These families earned an average income of $18,182 -- and after income tax assistance -  they each received back a refund averaging $1,662. This average tax refund equaled another month's wages for low-income, hard-working families. Overall, this program last year returned $768,265 to our county. The IRS estimates that more than $6,000,000 in earned income tax credits go unclaimed in Santa Cruz County each year.

This volunteer opportunity makes a real difference for families in our community—and volunteers are needed for the upcoming 2012 tax season! . Volunteer tax preparers receive free IRS training and certification. No professional experience necessary. Spanish speakers are expecially welcomed. This program is run through United Way's partner Santa Cruz Community Ventures.(SCCV).

Training starts in October with once a month meetings, but online training can be completed on your own time starting whenever. The program operates during tax season from January to mid-April 2012. SCCV asks volunteers to commit one day a week, for 3 to 4 hours a day.

For more infomrtion on volunteering, call Jean Alstatt at Santa Cruz Community Ventures at 460-2346 or email her.

Get Involved

For more information on VITA/EITC, check out the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union's resource guide. To receive updates for this event and others, sign up for our volunteer newsletter.